ROTHERHAM ABUSE SCANDAL: Horrific reality of ‘industrial scale’ child grooming revealed

GROOMING of young girls by gangs of predominantly Kashmiri men is still occurring on an “industrial scale” in Rotherham because authorities are failing to tackle an organised child sex crime racket, an investigation by express.co.uk has uncovered.

By NICK GUTTERIDGE IN ROTHERHAM

Express.co.uk has pieced together shocking testimony from victims, campaigners and local residents in a large-scale investigation series being revealed throughout this week.

They all told us how police and the local council is still “failing” thousands of vulnerable girls.

It reveals how organised, criminal gangs of paedophiles are still using the town as their own personal fiefdom, peddling underage girls for sex as part of a multi-million pound crime empire.

The men are predominantly from the city of Mirpur in the disputed region of Kashmir, on the border between Pakistan and India.

Express.co.uk has chosen to refer to the abusers as Kashmiri or Mirpuri after hearing how many mainstream British Pakistanis are disgusted by the actions of a few men from those communities.

Today an investigation by this website lifts the lid on the shocking scale of abuse still going on in Rotherham, two years after a landmark report into the scandal ruled police and council workers had ignored the issue for fear of being branded racist.

Professor Alexis Jay’s astonishing probe revealed at least 1,400 girls were groomed by sex gangs between 1997 and 2013, and unearthed a series of scandalous failings by local authorities.

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A recent follow-up report, published by Professor John Drew in March, concluded that the police are now “adequately” tackling child grooming and that historic failures had been “isolated”.

But testimony, pieced together from independent sources, paints a starkly different picture of the authorities’ response.

A number of people who gave evidence to Professor Drew’s inquiry expressed open dismay at his findings and told us the grooming of girls is as bad now as it has ever been.

And many have told Express.co.uk of their outright anger the police and local council workers have not done more to crack down on the grooming gangs.

One victim, who we have called Ellie to protect her identity, said: “Raping of white girls by these men is still going on. Some, I know, have had to wait months before they’re even asked to give a statement [to the police]. It’s shockingly bad still.”

In light of the scandalous failings of South Yorkshire Police (SYP) to tackle child sexual exploitation the Government sent in the National Crime Agency (NCA) to oversee the inquiry.

The investigation – called Operation Stovewood – is currently probing more than 7,000 lines of inquiry.

But Ellie said: “What have the National Crime Agency been doing for the last 18 months with their £10million? No arrests yet? We’re feeling desperate and disheartened.”

Another girl, going under the pseudonym Lizzie, said: “I know a few girls who have come forward recently and been told they are being racist and I know a lot that won’t come forward and to be fair I can’t blame them.

“Nothing has changed, not in the slightest. It’s still the same scale as before.”

Lizzie’s was one of a number of testimonies Express.co.uk heard detailing how abuse is going on in plain sight, with victims, campaigners and neighbours all able to direct this website to the areas where the grooming gangs operate freely in the terraced streets.

She added: “It doesn’t shock me anymore because I’m used to hearing it. You hear it on a daily basis, about new girls on a daily basis.

“All you can do really is help them, and I wouldn’t advise people to go to the police because they don’t do anything. I’d rather take it into my own hands.”

A third victim said: “It’s just as bad as it was before because they just don’t care – they don’t want to tackle it.”

In shocking testimony the father of one girl who was raped by the criminal gangs told how packs of young Kashmiri men linked to her abuser still turn up outside his home to intimidate the family.

One of the ways the grooming gangs were able to get away with their crimes for so long was due to a coordinated campaign of witness intimidation, which made the girls and their families too scared to speak out.

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Thousands of girls have been abused by criminal gangs in Rotherham  (photo: Express)

Recalling a series of incidents which took place in March this year, he said: “Every night for 13 nights out of 14 between midnight and 1am we had people coming and knocking on the door saying it was takeaways. We don’t really eat takeaways, and when we looked through the spy hole they had no food and you could see a car full of Asians.

“We had my granddaughter for the day nine weeks ago and we took the dog for a walk. On the way back I noticed two BMWs full of Asians.

“We were going past and we heard them saying something, but we just ignored it. We got across the road and all of a sudden we started hearing this abuse ‘you white bastards, don’t think your daughter is safe’, things of that nature.

“There was no one else in the street so it was obviously aimed at us. The next moment this big Pakistani guy with a shaven head – he was wearing some sort of robes – put his arm out of the car window and he was waving a tin of lighter fuel shouting ‘we will see, we will see’.”

He added: “These groomers, these paedophiles are still running this town and the police are still doing what they were doing back in the day – nothing. Children in this town are at risk now and it’s appalling.”

His comments were echoed by a former social worker who helps victims of abuse. They agreed grooming is still happening on an “industrial scale” and said new girls are still coming forward every week with harrowing tales.

They said: “We’ve seen slight improvements – and I emphasise the word slight – but I don’t think they’ve come fast enough and I sometimes have to question if we’ve got to a stage where if we don’t hear too much about it it’s going to go away.”

In many instances the abuse is so open that neighbours in the town are aware it is going on.

But they say they feel powerless to act because of police indifference and the vice-like grip the criminal grooming gangs have achieved.

A concerned resident told Express.co.uk he regularly saw cars full of abusers kerb crawling in the area around his home, adding it is an open secret taxi drivers still target local schools at home time in the hope of picking up young girls.

Continue reading here

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